Exercise is a necessity for just about everybody. You know this. You need to get moving in order to stay fit, but how long do you need to work out for to make exercise beneficial to your shape and health?

According to a set of new research, you don't have to spend too much time working out to get results. A recent study from the University of Copenhagen suggests that the breaking point could be not more than half an hour per day. The study looked at young men in their 20s and 30s who exercised for 30 minutes each day for 13 weeks. The subjects lost 40% more weight than those who worked out for a full hour each day. Researchers believe the reason is two-fold:

1. The men who exercised an hour a day compensated with too many extra calories, which counteracted their weight loss.

2. They were largely inactive outside the gym, due to the likeliness of them burning out:

A new study presented at the American College of Sports' annual meeting found that the average person spends 39.7% of their days being physically active (walking to a location, or doing chores) on the days they don't work out - compared to only 8.8% activity outside the gym on days they do.

"Overtraining is rough on your entire body—it takes its toll both mentally and physically," says personal trainer Mike Donavanik, CSCS, CPT.

In terms of fitness, too much exercise results in muscle loss, decreased strength, increased body fat, lowered testosterone levels, weakened immunity, more injuries, insomnia, and constant muscle soreness. The result is little to no muscle gain, and fat loss - and a poor overall health.

Apparently, people who work out too hard for too long are more often less healthy than sedentary people, and have an increased risk of death compared to people who exercise moderately. The reason is because long, intense workouts cause more than your body's antioxidant reserves can handle, predisposing you to chronic diseases.

"You're essentially pushing the body past its limits," says Donavanik. "Your body keeps operating on debt. It's constantly trying to catch up, but it never gets the opportunity to."

Here are three easy ways to give your body gets the rest it needs so you can get fitter, faster:

1. Take a day off.

"Set aside at least one day a week where you do absolutely nothing and just let your body recoup," Donavanik says. You should also give your body at least 48 hours of rest before re-working any one muscle group so that it has time to heal before you work on it again.

2. Switch things up.

Your workout should be a rotation of hard, easy and different. It adds variety and needed rest into your workout. Trying new exercises (like classes even) can keep you from working the same muscles over and over again.

3. Take care of your muscles.

Your muscles need some TLC too. Protein, whole grain carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and D help promote cell growth and muscle tissue repair. Plus, sleeping for 8 hours a night can help your muscles grow back stronger.